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Category: Unusual ideas

A giant web has landed amid the ruins of Marrakech’s largest mosque. The gossamer installation, by Berlin-based Barkow Leibinger Architects, is part of the fourth Marrakech Biennale, during which the city plays host to a rich mix of literature, film, music and art events.

Titled ‘Loom-Hyperbolic’, the site-specific work in the grounds of Mosque Koutoubia, is inspired by the Moroccan weaving craft and the geometry of Marrakech architecture. The structure – fashioned out of local hand-peeled pinewood – echoes the form of the traditional wooden loom, and creates a canopied ‘hyperbolic’ effect once the yarn has been stretched over its frames. Its grid arrangement reflects the positioning of the nearby broken-off columns.

Loom-Hyperbolic is part of the main visual arts exhibition of the Biennale, titled ‘Higher Atlas‘, and bringing together the likes of former Turner Prize nominee Roger Hiorns and architect Juergen Mayer H. Both familiar and foreign within its medieval setting, the ethereal installation can be viewed by day or night from above the ruin, or from beneath the structure, in tent-like seclusion.

Photography: Barkow Leibinger and Johannes Foerste


Architect: Rocky Rockefeller
Office: Banyan Drive Treehouse

Sadly not every home office can take advanatge of the fabulous views or indeed afford a space like the Banyan Drive Treehouse located in Los Angeles, California. But according to Rocky Rockefeller, the principal of Rockefeller Partners Architects, every office should aspire to create a one-of-a-kind office. The Banyan Treehouse is perched 12 feet off the ground, which provides the client with 360-degree views and a way for her “to clear her mind,” Rockefeller says. “In every office we’ve ever worked on, we try to create a unique space where a person can accomplish what they want to accomplish,” he adds.

When you think about re-designing your office there are many companies who offer office interior design for you and they all have different specialities.
When re-designing an office there is so much to think about, that excitement can often become confusion.
When you employ a top quality interior designer, you will find that designing your office can become fun and exciting without the hassle and stress.
An office should be a place of motivation, revolutionary breakthroughs and stimulating designs to encourage the best work from your staff.
That is why Claremont offer audio visual solutions and in depth workplace consultancy.
Each and every one of these small factors help to give you a real and feasible idea and image of what your finished office design will look like.
Seeing the ideas you have chosen, as well as having a full breakdown of how they will be implemented, creates a sense of accomplishment and you are safe in the knowledge that your office will look the way you want it to.

It’s great to see that something simple, effective and really useful has won the UK leg of the international James Dyson Award – bring on the flexible room divider for use in hospitals, developed by designer Michael Korn.

KwickScreen is a portable, retractable, room divider which provides isolation or privacy solutions in hospitals when required. They have a very small footprint for easy storage and use and are simple to transport and clean. KwickScreens enable hospitals, which are often stretched for resources, to make the best use of space offering the flexibility to change a room’s layout. The product greatly helps in the fight against health care acquired infections as well as with mixed sex accommodation and general privacy and dignity problems.

KwickScreens can be printed, which adds colour and interest to wards and can be used to display important messages to staff and visitors and has applications beyond healthcare, in schools, universities, offices and exhibitions where open plan areas need to be divided up in a fast and flexible manner.

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art with a table top model of the KwickScreen, Michael spent much of the year researching hospital environments and understanding the situation. The following year, 2008, KwickScreen was selected to be part of the NHS’s smart ideas programme and in 2009 a clinical trial at UCLH with full size prototypes began. Over the next year further product developments were made, the internal mechanism was simplified and the body was changed from steel to aluminium. KwickScreen was accepted into the Design London incubator Jan 2011 and subsequently the first volume sales came in, by July the screen has been sold into 25 trusts and 4 countries.










Michael says ‘ The inspiration came whilst thinking about problems within the NHS; MRSA, lack of space, lack of privacy. No one wants to be denied their basic right to privacy and dignity when admitted to hospital. The NHS has the worst rate of healthcare associated infections in Europe. Nurses required improved isolation for infection control without the use of scarce side rooms, and patients wanted increasing privacy and dignity, therefore I sought to address these problems. I came up with the idea of bringing isolation to the patient. A retractable screen was the solution I envisaged; I sought inspiration firstly from nature. The venus fly trap and a frogs tongue, slap on bracelets and tape measures were all used during this stage until the discovery of rolatube which gave a means of scaling up my idea to full size’.

See more details of Michael’s invention and the other shortlisted projects here BBC News – Showing off UK innovation

Posted by Ann Clarke

Shark skin is a masterpiece of evolution. Made to allow the shark to be perfectly streamlined, scientists have realized it can improve many other items as well. Yvonne Wilke, Volkmar Stenzel and Manfred Peschka of the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a paint based on the textured skin of sharks that will help make the blades of wind turbines spin more effectively.


The researchers also believe the paint could be applied to airplanes and save as much as 4.5 million tons of fuel if used on every plane, and they estimate that it could reduce wall friction on container ships which could lead to a 2,000-ton fuel savings annually.

Yvonne Wilke, Dr. Volkmar Stenzel and Manfred Peschka engineered a paint system that can reduce the flow resistance of airplanes and ships, which saves fuel. Credit: Fraunhofer / Dirk Mahler

Shark skin isn’t just an inspiration for planes and ships, but for cars too. A company called SkinzWraps has created a coating for cars, and claims a 18-20% improvement in MPG. It seems like an extraordinary change in fuel efficiency, and even two years after the claim came out we’re still waiting to hear word from trust worthy sources like Consumer Reports or Popular Mechanics to test it out and see if it really could make that much of a difference. Still, while the product itself is iffy, the principle is not. Sharks have amazing skin.

The New Map of the Lakes

Inspired by nearly 20 years of London life, linked with his own love of the fells, Peter Burgess geographer and teacher, has now created a topological map of Alfred Wainwright’s 214 fells, akin to the London Underground map devised by engineering draughtsman, Harry Beck in 1931.  Peter is also the founder of the Online Fellwalking Club, an Internet based walking group set up during the Foot & Mouth crisis of 2001.  He has walked the fells of Lakeland for most of his life, is a founder member of the Wainwright Society.

For those new to the map, after an initial curiosity, it soon becomes apparent as to the subject matter portrayed.  Each ‘Wainwright’ fell is clearly labelled in black with its name and the colour of the ‘tube’ lines corresponds to the colours used in the seven ‘Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells’.  The map is not intended to be a navigational aid, far from it, but a novelty piece of graphic artwork uniquely illustrating the English Lake District and its famous fells or mountains.  Peter is sure that his creation, suitably entitled ‘Tubular Fells’, will be a great talking point and willing addition to the fellwalking enthusiast’s home. 

To get a taste of ‘Tubular Fells’ and to see some of Peter’s own inspiration, then you’d do no better than to watch the 2 minutes of images and video accessible via the link below, before going on to read about the story of ‘Tubular Fells’ on the rest of the website

Examining the underground maps in tube carriages on hundreds of journeys into London down the years, Peter realised he could manipulate a topological map to emulate the characteristics of a transport map featuring Lakeland’s fells.  Of course, the map is not intended nor is it designed for navigation.  At the very least Tubular Fells is an aid memoir for the 214 fells that Alfred Wainwright arbitrarily identified and described in his now celebrated pictorial guides.  Like Harry Beck’s creation from 1931, AW’s graphical works featuring the Lake District landscape are instantly recognisable.  The two men should be remembered for what they were, the creators of some of the 20th centuries most iconic cartographic and graphic art.

Beyond the fells, 17 valley lakes are included on ‘Tubular Fells’ which of course gives the Lake District its name, as well as labels identifying other locations that neatly complete the map for the purposes of interest and design.  Along with special symbols for boat services; the map also incorporates the Cumbria Way, Dales Way and Coast to Coast walk as well as the wheelchair access route ascending Latrigg, just as is depicted on many stations on the London tube.  As it was appropriate and room allowed, the famous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway has been included – one real railway line in an otherwise fictitious world of transport routes

Oakoak is a French street artist who is making a bit of a statement – and makes fun of the surrounding environment. His clever and witty depictions use street furniture, road markings and all sorts of other things that capture his imagination in the street. Don’t try and make sense of them…Just enjoy!

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If you thought you would never be able to afford a Chanel accessory, then think again! Karl Lagerfeld has designed yet another bottle of his favorite Diet Cola and put his signature stamp on it turning the Coke bottle into a fashion accessory.

The designer, artist and photographer of Chanel has created three design variations for the new “Love it Light” campaign featuring an utterly new glamorous color scheme for Coke- black, white, and pink. The fashionable bottles will be available as a Limited Collection, sold in a prism-shaped collector box designed by Karl Lagerfeld as well as individually and will be available from June 2011.

Karl Lagerfeld, aside from his invaluable contribution to fashion, is also known as a great fan of Diet Coke. Back in 2001, he wowed the audience of one of the fashion events by showing the tremendous results of his diet, during which he only ate stewed vegetables and drank Diet Coke—and eventually lost 90 pounds.

“It’s exciting for me because I love the idea and as everybody knows, I drink Diet Coke and nothing else, night and day. It was pure pleasure to do a campaign with people I like and for a product I love,” Karl commented


Posted by Ann Clarke

eVolo Magazine announced the winner of the 2011 Skyscraper Competition as Atelier CMJN (Julien Combes & Gaël Brulé) for their innovative design for the LO2P Delhi Recycling Centre

Conceived as a giant turbine the LO2P skyscraper would be located in New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world due to the exponential increase in population and cars -it is estimated that number of cars grows by one-thousand every day.

The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.

Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the use of new technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, along with studies on globalization, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution. The award seeks to discover young talent, whose ideas will change the way we understand architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments

Yesterday was the Welcome Image Awards 2011, where science meets art.

These awards focus on imagery that is technically excellent and informative.

Information on the winners can be found here: